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History

How did the Water Utilities Department get its start?

thumbnail-Battle-of-Village-Creek-illustrationIn 1841, U.S. Sergeant Major Jonathan Bird was ordered by General Edward H. Tarrant to set up the first fort on the West Fork of the Trinity River. Soon after arriving, his expedition of 40 volunteers became embroiled in the Battle of Village Creek with the Comanche Indians. Several years later a treaty was signed between the Indians and the settlement somewhere in the vicinity of Bird’s fort, located one mile north of the Trinity River on the east side of Highway 157. After the treaty was signed, Major Bird encouraged his companions to settle there, believing that the area could be made habitable.

Then in 1846, Colonel Middleton Tate Johnson, who was elected Captain of the Company of Rangers, liked the area so well that he decided to settle here permanently and helped develop the area that became known as Johnson Station, located near Matlock Road, between Arkansas Lane and Mayfield Road.

A major attraction for early settlers was the quantity of water offered by Village Creek. Other settlers came to develop what later became Arlington and by 1894 the population had grown to 900 residents, which increased the demand for water, thus the first Arlington Water Works was established.

The Water Utilities Department currently operates and maintains two water treatment plants. The original plant was named Pierce-Burch (PB) after two long-term Water Utilities employees. Over the years, the plant has been expanded from its original capacity of 6 million gallons per day (MGD) to its current capacity of 75 MGD.

In 1989, the City’s second water treatment plant, Southwest, was placed in service. The plant was renamed the John F. Kubala (JFK) Water Treatment Plant in 1997, after the City’s first Director of Utilities. The plant’s original capacity was 32 MGD but its capacity has since expanded to 97.5 MGD to meet the increasing water demand in south Arlington.

To learn more historical facts about Arlington visit our History of Arlington page.